Brewing up business
The sun peeks through the clouds over the mountains on a foggy morning in Fujian province, China. In the valley below, farmers are hard at work painstakingly plucking the finest tea leaves from the plants that will make up this year’s harvest. Two men standing next to a red and gray cinder block building are bickering about something; no doubt about the price for the lot. One takes another sip of the freshly brewed tea and gets a contemplative look on his face as he reconsiders the offer. They shake hands and continue their conversation.
That’s one way to purchase some of the finest teas China has to offer. But if you don’t have the time, tea knowledge or bartering skills, you might want to try the next best thing: Silk Road Teas. Catherine and Ned Haegerty have been working since 2004 to bring rare, artisan Chinese teas to the United States.
Silk Road Teas started importing specialty teas in 1992. In 2004, Catherine and Ned Haegerty acquired the company and have been purchasing teas on the ground in China ever since. It began as a wholesale enterprise, working with some of the largest retailers in the US. “About eight years ago, we started to be more active on the web, and are currently speeding up. We changed our business model to reflect a mix of business-to-business (B2B), or wholesale, and business-to-consumer (B2C),” Ned explained.